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Teddy Bear Nightmare

by yo go re

*Insert "bad British teeth" joke here.*

In 2010, Louise McGettrick was trawling eBay for a Christmas gift for her husband. Bereft of ideas, and knowing he liked sharks, he did a search for "teeth." One of the top listings was a bag of miscelaneous false teeth. She couldn't figure out why anyone would ever be daft enough to buy such a thing. The teeth arrived in the mail the next week.

Mrs. McGettrick began daydreaming of a little old lady at a craft fair, sitting at her table between the homemade jams and the jewellery boxes with small seashells glued to them, trying to sell teddy bears with human teeth and getting sadder and sadder as people steered clear. So when the teeth arrived, McGettrick made her first crude attempt at sewing a bear of her own; it had wonky eyes, big uneven stitches, and just generally looked terrible. But this is the internet, where "terrible" calls home. So it was off to Etsy, where the newly dubbed "Fugglers" were soon a big hit.

The original Fugglers (it's supposedly a portmanteau of "Funny Ugly Monsters," but... come on, we know it's not) were plushes, but eventually the brand was acquired by Spin Masters, who have the resources to create different product categories - including, for the purposes of this review, small vinyl figures. They were initially available blind-boxed, but for Series 2, Walmart managed to get a clear window added to the front, so you'd know what you were getting.

The material may have changed, but the fundamental designs haven't. This guy is still a little teddy bear, though he's got odd proportions: big head, little body, lopsided ears. His eyes are mismatched buttons - the original Fugglers had button eyes like this, but that had to be changed to meet modern mass produced toy safety standards. And of course, he's got human teeth, making him almost as creepy as the first pass at Movie Sonic. "Almost."

The body is sculpted with stitches and seams with puckered wrinkles, which is a nice concept, but considering that the toy is made of smooth plastic instead of fuzzy cloth, they make it look like a small balloon rather than a small plush. If you turn him around and look at his butt, you'll see they even remembered to sculpt his butthonhole (every Fuggler has one). The only articulation to be found is a swivel for the neck, so you can at least get a little personality out of him.

As is so often the case with vinyl figures, the molds have a tendency to get reused and repainted. For instance, in Series 1 this mold was a light brown, and had glow-in-the-dark eyes and teeth. But this is Series 2, so he's dark brown, with one purple eye and one pink eye. As fond as I am of GitD plastic, this is a better brown, so it's worth the tradeoff. Oh, but that tan one was the chase variant - the normal version was yellow with blue eyes, meaning there are already three versions of this little teddy bear nightmare. "Colorways," if you're pretentious.

Originally just an internet phenomenon, Fugglers can now be found at Target, Walmart, GameStop... you know, real places. And while there is a 9" plush of this same basic design, a 3" vinyl is more up our alley. And of the various color/mold combos available in Series 2, this one is easily the best.

-- 05/23/20

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